Sidhant, a veteran actor with over 100 films to his credit, and Rachana had been the leading reel Jodi for long. Subsequently, they had tied the knot. They ended their marriage at a family court in Cuttack in 2004. Both have since married again.
Rachana Banerjee, who has several hits under her belt and featured in the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Sooryavansam, said, "I am inspired by Sonia Gandhi and have come to seek votes for Sekharbhai. When I offered to come to Berhampur to campaign, only then did I come to know that he (Sidhant) has joined politics and is contesting elections. I wish him the best." About her past relationship with Sidhant, she said: "It is absolutely my personal matter and has nothing to do with politics."
Sidhant maintained, "it would not make any difference" to his campaign and said: "She acted in some Oriya movies but is not from Orissa. The Oriya film industry is solidly behind me. Her decision to campaign against me has proved that she has no attachment with Oriya filmdom." He requested scribes not to rake up the past as it now "involved two families' and said, "Who has the time to look at the past. We should think of the present and work for the future."
Sahu, the Union minister of state for rural development, attempted to sidestep the issue, saying: "Rachana has decided to campaign for the Congress and I welcome her decision. How am I expected to know the personal details of anybody else's life?" Sahu is locked in a stiff contest with Sidhant to retain his turf, and going by Congress sources, the move to bring Rachana to campaign for the Berhampur MP is intended at warding off Sidhant's star value.
"Voters in Berhampur attach much importance to cine stars. Hence, the BJD has experimented with Sidhant. Though he is new to politics he is getting good response. Rachana's presence is expected to wrest the initiative from the BJD," a Congress man observed.